The Cool Thing About Hating A Job

I know this is definitely not the most appropriate thing to write on a career change blog but I’ll write it anyway:

I used to love my job.

Seriously.

It was a proper corporate job with all the trimmings: nice suit, PowerPoint slides and endless (often useless) important meetings.

When I started it, I was all in. Proud of it. Excited by it.

Yet I ended up hating it.

This rejection was the outcome of a slow and steady transformation process we should all be aware of.

Here’s how it generally happens:

Step 1 – How You Usually Land A Job

I landed this job the classical way:

I met a bunch of recruiters who asked me a bunch of questions.

Their goal? Evaluate how well I fitted the job description.

They did that based on my experiences, skills, strengths and weaknesses.

If you broadly fit the template, you get the job. Simple.

Step 2 – Why You Like or Love A Job

If the recruiter does a good job, you’re hired for a job that kind of “leverages your talents”. So they say.

You generally have a steep learning curve and shitloads to do … but since you have the right strengths for the job, it all feels reasonably easy.

That was my case.

But more importantly I got this job at a point in time when all I wanted was a first decent salary to reach full financial independence from my mum.

I just wanted to rent my own flat, buy a crappy car, and have a bit of money left to party.

Not only that job felt reasonably easy, but it also satisfied my immediate desires.

I was a happy bunny.

Step 3 – The Turning Point

You generally love a job because it is aligned with your talents and expectations … at a point in time.

When that happens, you can be happy commuting every morning from your bed to your cubicle.

You may even accept your annoying boss as a necessary nuisance.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Things start to go wrong when you and your job are not in reasonable sync anymore.

Something gets disconnected.

There are lots of reasons why this happens, and this disconnect can even be triggered by “positive” changes in your job.

For instance, I noticed a lot of my friends started hating their job after they got promoted. Suddenly they were asked to prepare budgets, manage people or support the party line. The nature of their job changed, and it wasn’t in sync with their own nature anymore.

But even if your job stays the same, sometimes your desires and life priorities simply change. At that point, you realise your job isn’t the best option to fulfill these anymore.

Whatever that is, at some point something breaks.

Generally you don’t realise this immediately, but this is the turning point from which you start hating your goddamn job.

The Takeaway: the Happiness Blueprint

So how do you deal with that?

Well your very first goal must be to understand this disconnect.

I see too many people missing this step, and just blaming external circumstances (e.g. their boss) for their shitty life. So they apply for a similar job elsewhere, only to realise a few months later nothing really improved in their life. And they really struggle to figure out what’s wrong.

If you’re unsatisfied with your current job or situation and want a real change, you must address the root cause first:

  • If you never liked your job, try to figure out why. As a starting point, make a list of your strengths and aspirations, and identify the areas with where you and your job are disconnected.
  • If you used to love your job but now want something different, do something similar, and put a name on the reasons why you need this change.

Once you know what this root cause is, you can use it as a foundation to start building something different such as fixing things in your job, changing careers or starting your own business.

Whatever you do next, make sure it is in alignment with you.

You see, for me happiness is all about alignment.

Of course, it is a bit more complex than just aligning with the right strengths for your job, or your current aspirations (we address this complexity in Trailblazer).

But if I had to give you a Happiness Blueprint, it would mainly focus on resetting your personal compass, and realigning your life with your true-self.

P.S. I’ll expand on the concept of alignment in future posts, but let me know what you think. Do you also think it is a great way to drive happiness? Do you think I’m nuts? Drop a comment below to let me know :)

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Misha April 6, 2017 at 6:05 am

This is a fantastic and much needed article Cedric!

It ‘s so easy to externalize the discontent we may individually feel, projecting onto things and people that, sure, may be asshole-ish, but ultimately, we miss the deeper, much more noteworthy issue, we have the power to change.

I know i’m definitely guilty of this. I recently took my first parlay into the world of retail employment at the tender age of 25. To say the least, I prided myself on being a self proclaimed weirdo, balking at the route I saw most of my school mates taking, proclaimed loudly on their facebook timeline, taking jobs that they at best knew they disliked and at worst were spirtually repulsed by.

I knew pretty quickly on that I would not be able to fully utilize my artistic strengths and marketing interests on the job as a green newbie, and to say the least this deep seated disconnection, ultimately lead me to place the focal point of blame on my coworkers, probably just as trapped, underutilized and tortuously unassauged, just like me.

I left recently in February, and realized, even though I didn’t enjoy the way I was treated, that ultimately, my employment was deeply out of alignment with what i’m passionate and skilled at. It just wasn’t a harmonious, mutually beneficial fit.

I think in addition to consciously seeking out opportunities for alignment, one must also cultivate the confidence and courage to go about pursuing them, in a at times relentlessly hard headed, but ferociously compassionate spirit of faith, especially when no one may understand, nor see your pursuit as vitally important.

This, I feel is a major stumbling block for alot of would be trailblazers.

I would love to see what else you can share and expound upon regarding alignment.

Until then i’m deeply grateful for your timely and thought provoking insights Cedric!

Keep up the amazing work!

Reply

Cedric April 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for your kind words Misha!

Alignment in itself is a simple and obvious concept. The challenge is most people don’t realise they are “misaligned”. Once you realise and accept this, you already fixed half of the problem.

Taylor April 7, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Wow Never Though About it this way before. Definitely have been out of alignment for a few times in my life, no wonder I felt so unhappy!

Thanks for sharing, really appreciate it.

Reply

Cedric April 8, 2017 at 11:16 am

Thanks for the feedback Taylor :)

Joel April 10, 2017 at 10:29 pm

I too wound up a victim of misalignment. I sat back and blamed everyone around me. My employer, my co-workers, my family and just about everybody whose name didn’t start with Joel. While I didn’t go the route of writing down everything I was thinking, I was told by my wife that things have to change. After a long conversation, we found out that I was to blame for my unhappiness. It was me that was keeping myself employed there and it was me that wasn’t doing anything about it. Funny how that works.

After a short while, I decided to do the only thing that aligned with my own goals, beliefs, and aspirations…I went in business for myself. While I don’t think that this is the route for everyone, I do believe that it was the route for me.

After the initial scare, worry, and regret subsided, I found myself to be happier, healthier, and more productive. I can say through experience, that if you what you do doesn’t align with who you are, move on.

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Tendani April 26, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Hating your job it could be a good thing, but you have to ask yourself why do you hate your job?
I also use to have a job, and after 4 years i couldn’t take it any more,

When i wake up in the morning, i use to hit the snooze button like crazy, because i knew i was going to the job that didn’t fulfill me anymore,

What i was doing it wasn’t my passion, there was something missing in my soul, & i left the job to start something that interest me, something i have passion for.

It was the best decision i have made, because now i am doing what i love, every day at my own terms.

Reply

Maria July 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

“Happiness is all about alignment” I Agree. Well. often, most people also don’t realize they are no longer in alignment. That’s why they become unhappy.

Reply

Cedric July 4, 2017 at 9:59 am

Hey Maria! Yes you’re right: we often don’t realize we’re not in alignment. Most of us don’t notice and just keep going, until one day we realise we have a huge gap in our life…

Graham @ Reverse the Crush August 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Great post, Cedric! I agree with the concept of alignment 100%! I am all too familiar with the steps you’ve described in your article. I have pursued careers in the past based on money, fulfillment and skill-building opportunities. However, over and over and over, I grow to dislike my jobs. Somewhere along the line I realized that the problem is me – I don’t fit in within the traditional office setting and will never gain happiness from it. There is too much I don’t like about it – pointless meeting, water cooler talk, nobody actually seems to want to work, the micro-management, lack of quality work, the commute and even the goals/lifestyles of the people I work with don’t fit on the same page as my own aspirations.

That’s why I agree so much with the concept of alignment. If my goal was to try to climb the corporate ladder and gain happiness through my employer, I’d be screwed. However, since I’ve aligned my personal goals to reach financial independence through blogging and dividend investing, it makes it easier to cope with each day at the office since I know what I’m working towards.

Thanks again for sharing the great post! Have a great week!

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